Last week, Artsakh’s defenders and supporters in the US eastern region and around the world commemorated the 31st anniversary of the liberation of Shushi and honored the brave soldiers who sacrificed life and limb to pursue freedom and self-determination after years of living under Azerbaijan’s discriminatory and deadly rule. The Armenians of Artsakh also rallied last week against Azerbaijan’s campaign to ethnically cleanse them from their indigenous lands, putting the world on notice that only the people of Artsakh have the right to determine their destiny.
That is why recent meetings hosted in Washington, DC by US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov are ineffective and can have no meaningful impact on Artsakh’s citizens and their unshakable goal of self-determination. Diplomatic efforts that occur against the backdrop of Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of the only road between Artsakh and Armenia and its continuing provocations and killings of Armenians in Artsakh and Armenia are doomed to fail. No viable, lasting solution is possible as long as Azerbaijan is permitted to disregard the rights and security concerns of the Armenian population of Artsakh, the root causes of the conflict are not addressed, and the self-determination rights of Artsakh’s 120,000 citizens are not recognized.
Although the government of Azerbaijan continues its efforts to break the spirit of Artsakh’s people, last week’s rallies honoring the liberation of Shushi and against Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing efforts show that Artsakh’s Armenians cannot be dissuaded in their fight for freedom and justice.
On May 20, those defending the rights of Artsakh’s Armenians will travel from Yerevan to the border town of Kornidzor near the Hakari bridge occupied by Azerbaijan to continue to show Azerbaijan and the rest of the world that all efforts to relinquish the human rights of Artsakh’s 120,000 men, women and children will be resisted. The demand for Artsakh’s freedom will persist and only intensify until the inevitable recognition is secured that Artsakh is and shall always be Armenian.